Jair Bolsonaro or Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva? On Sunday more than 150 million Brazilians are called to the polls to elect their president.
The leftist campaign has called Brazilians to vote “useful” already in the first round, to try to capture votes from other candidates more relegated in the polls, such as the center-leftist Ciro Gomes (7% of the intention to vote) and Senator Simone Tebet (5%).
Lula has also won the support of symbolic figures, such as former Federal Supreme Court judge Joaquim Barbosa, rapporteur for a corruption scandal involving vote-buying in Congress during the first government of the former PT president.
According to the latest survey by the Datafolha Institute published last Thursday, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has 47% of the voting intentions compared to 33% for Bolsonaro.
Considering only the valid votes (without blanks or null), Lula gathers 50% of the support, the minimum percentage to obtain a victory in the first round. 86% of the electorate has already decided their vote, according to the survey.
The two candidates, from two opposite points of the political spectrum, still plan to use their last hours of the campaign to win the votes of the undecided, whose vote could change the trend.
Although their campaigns have focused mainly on mutual attacks and their programs are still vague in many aspects, these are the main proposals of the candidates for the period 2023-2026.
When and how is the president elected in Brazil?
More than 156 million Brazilians will elect their president on Sunday, October 2 , but also deputies, governors and senators, by voting in electronic ballot boxes.
According to official figures from the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), 156 million 454,011 Brazilians are “qualified to vote”, 6% more than in the last elections of 2018.
Voting is compulsory from 18 to 70 years old, although the amount of the fine for refusing to vote is ridiculous (3.51 reais, or just over 13 Mexican pesos). Voting, on the other hand, is optional for young people aged 16-17, those over 70 and illiterate.
Each voter must enter the code that corresponds to each candidate, two digits for the president and governors, three for senators, four for federal deputies and five for deputies to the assemblies of each state.
The first two digits are always those of the party.
This system makes it possible to obtain the results quickly, approximately two hours after the closing of the polls.
But he is regularly criticized by President Jair Bolsonaro, who cites possible “fraud” without providing evidence.
Currently, more than 33 million Brazilians are hungry and 9.9 million are unemployed in this country of 213 million people.
Bolsonaro’s main workhorse to combat this is the Auxilio Brasil money transfer program, a reformulation of the Bolsa Familia created under the Lula administration (2003-2010), increased to 400 reais per month (1,400 pesos) during the pandemic and 600 reais (2,300 pesos) this year.
His program mentions job creation as a priority, especially for youth and women, and cites “economic freedom” as a promoter of social welfare.
The far-right candidate promises to exempt from income tax those who earn up to five minimum wages and improve infrastructure in less developed regions, in addition to expanding the privatization process.
The target of strong international criticism, Bolsonaro’s environmental policy plans to continue with the “Green Brazil” and “Guardians of the Biome” military operations, criticized by environmentalists for their high cost and low effectiveness in combating deforestation, fires and crime in the Amazon.
In its program, it affirms that “it will seek to accelerate the development of actions to reduce and mitigate greenhouse gases”, while recognizing the climate fight as an “inexorable part” of the solution for the future of the planet, affirmations viewed with skepticism by the specialists.
Bolsonaro defends new “bilateral” and “multilateral” agreements, and is committed to concluding the process of Brazil’s entry into the OECD, to attract investment, capital and strengthen ties with industrialized countries.
The former army captain promises to increase investment in public security agencies such as state police and the Armed Forces. It also defends an even greater flexibility in access to weapons, to expand “the fundamental right to self-defense and individual freedom.”
Bolsonaro does not mention the LGBT+ community in his program. Regarding the indigenous people, it claims their “freedom” to make a “responsible use” of natural resources, “balancing environmental protection with fair and sustainable economic growth.”
And those of Lula da Silva?
Lula, for his part, promises to launch a “renewed and expanded” Family Grant, adding to the 600 reais a month another 150 reais (560 pesos) for each child under six years of age.
His economic proposal is based on public investment and the improvement of the minimum wage (1,212 reais, 4,500 pesos) to restore the purchasing power of Brazilians in the face of high inflation.
The historic leader of the Workers’ Party (P) is also considering implementing a tax reform “so that the poor pay less and the rich pay more.”
Lula has said that he will draw up a plan to reduce the indebtedness that affects almost 70% of Brazilian families.
He proposes new labor legislation “to expand social protection”, reversing the “setbacks” of a 2017 reform.
Lula promises to combat illegal mining, fires and deforestation in the Amazon jungle head-on, strengthening the preservation and control bodies, weakened during the Bolsonaro administration.
It also intends to unlock the millionaire resources of the Amazon Fund, financed by Norway and Germany and paralyzed since 2019.
Lula promises to meet the goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions assumed in the Paris Agreement and ensure the “energy transition” of the country.
The former president aims to “recover” Brazil’s global role with an “active and proud” foreign policy, expanding international trade agreements and resuming “south-south” cooperation with Latin America and Africa, as well as strengthening Mercosur, Unasur , Celac and and Brics.
“I will travel to restore the relationship that Brazil had with all the countries of Europe, South America, with South Africa, with China, with the Arab countries, with the United States,” Lula said during the campaign.
In terms of security, Lula says that a “new policy on drugs” is necessary to replace the current “war” model of combating drug trafficking with strategies that privilege “investigation” and “intelligence” to dismantle criminal organizations.
Lula promises to defend “the rights and territories of the indigenous peoples” and quilombolas (descendants of slaves) and publicly promised to create a “Ministry of the original peoples”, headed by an indigenous person.
It also provides for health, education, employment and security policies for the LGBT+ community, and the expansion of social and racial quotas in universities.
With information from AFP